Avoiding a resolution to Sri Lanka’s political crisis through Parliament, President Maithripala Sirisena late on Friday dissolved the House. The move came just hours after his political front admitted to lacking the majority needed for its controversially installed Prime Minister to be declared legitimate.
Issuing an extraordinary gazette, Mr. Sirisena dismissed the 225-member assembly with effect from midnight, and called for a snap general election on January 5, 2019.
Mr. Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) convened an “emergency meeting”. “We are certainly challenging this in court,” senior UNP politician Mangala Samarweera, who was Finance Minister in the government that fell. The UNP was “ready to face election any time”, but felt the need to challenge the dissolution which is “a blatant violation of the Constitution,” he said.
Earlier on Friday, Sri Lanka’s purported new government said it had “104 or 105” MPs in the 225-member House, in a public admission of lacking majority in the House. Addressing a press conference at the Prime Minister’s office — which Mr. Rajapaksa took over after his disputed appointment — spokesman of the Sirisena-Rajapaksa front Keheliya Rambukwella said, “We have about 105 now”, contradicting Mr. Sirisena’s claim last week of “having the majority”.